This blog is a guest post by ProActiv.
If you struggle with mental health issues, there are a ton of techniques you can use to help alleviate your symptoms and give you a better lease of life. Although medication can be great, it’s not the only way you can help your mind! One such method you could explore is looking at your diet – considering everything from the foods you’re eating to what is a healthy BMI – and see if yours could be adjusted to help your state of mind.
What Can Food Do for You?
Making sure you’re taking care of yourself from the inside out could be the first step to coping with a mental illness. By providing your body with the nutrition it needs to function, you’re helping everything within it to work correctly – including all those chemicals and hormones that can affect mental illness.
In fact, there’s a whole heap of evidence out there that shows the link between eating well and better mental health. For example, of everyone recorded by Mental Health Foundation, two thirds of those who didn’t suffer from a mental illness consumed fruit or fresh fruit juice each day. In contrast, under 50% of those who did suffer from mental illness could say the same.
Of course, you can’t simply rely on your diet to help your mental health. Whilst it’s a great thing to do, you might also be seeking professional help and therapy alongside it.
How to Eat for your Mind
If you want to start eating for the benefit of your body and mind, here are some tips you can try out. They’re not difficult and they can make the world of difference!
· Eat Regularly – To help prevent sudden drops in blood sugar levels which can affect your mood, eat smaller portions more regularly and try slow-releasing energy foods such as rice, oats and wholegrain pasta. Avoid foods (and drinks!) that are high in sugar.
· Stock up on Protein – Protein (found in lean meat, fish, lentils, bean, nuts, soya etc.) is full of amino acids that help create the chemicals that regulate your mood, so make sure you’re not missing out!
· Drink the Right Stuff – Cut down on caffeine (ditch coffee, tea, energy drinks and chocolate) and hydrate on water, herbal teas and fruit juice. Staying hydrated is super important to keeping your mood and energy up!
· A Colourful Diet – Consuming at least your five a day in fruit and veg is a must if you want to improve your mood. Try and keep the colours you’re eating varied to make sure you’re getting a whole range of vitamins and nutrients.
· Cut Down on Chemicals – Avoiding foods that are pumped full of chemicals and artificial products is a great way to restore harmony in your body. Switch crisps and chocolate for fruit and nuts and try home-cooked meals rather than shop-bought.
A Healthy BMI
Due to the breadth of mental illnesses and the sensitivity of weight in regard to some people’s state of mental health, you should only consider your weight if you’ve had no previous trauma involving it and keep your doctor or therapist up to date with what you’re doing.
Weight, however, can be a great indicator of how you’re taking care of your body. Your first step should be to discover what is a healthy BMI and whether yours is okay, and if it’s not then consult a professional on how to healthily bring your weight up or down.
Remember, weight isn’t the most important part of your health, physically or mentally. As long as you’re taking steps to look after your body, don’t stress over it.
You should also keep in mind that all of these steps and diet adjustments can take time to take effect, so persevere. Look after your body and it’ll look after you!